A 22-year-old male has been jailed for four years and eight months after he was convicted of incest and sexual connection against his biological sister.
The decision was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Lei’ataualesa Daryl Clarke last week.
He issued a suppression order to protect the identity of the victim. In doing so, the identity of her brother and anything could lead to identifying her has also been suppressed.
Prosecuting the matter was lawyer, Fuifui Ioane, of the Attorney General’s Office.
According to Justice Leiataualesa, the defendant faced two charges.
“The first is on the 1st of January, 2016 to 30th November, 2016 you had sexual connection with the victim under 12 years old,” he said. “This charge carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment.
“The second charge is on 25th September, 2017, you committed incest with the victim, your biological sister, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.”
According to the Police summary of facts, the first incident occurred between 1st January, 2016 and 30th November, 2016, where the accused told the victim, who was then 10 years old, to meet him at the back of the house.
She then followed him into the bushes. There, he told her to take off her clothes and he sexually harassed her. He also tried having sex with her several times but he could not.
Later on, their father called the victim’s name so they both put their clothes on and left.
The second incident occurred on the afternoon of Monday 25th September 2017, where the defendant had been watching television with the victim. He again told her to meet him at the backyard.
The victim refused, but the defendant begged her to follow him. He then grabbed the machete and told his cousins that he was going to do some chores.
Later, the victim went to get ice water from the fridge and she saw him outside begging her to come out.
She did. He wrapped his arms around her and hugged her and then he began to kiss her cheeks and lips.
He then sexually harassed her.
His uncle, who was in the area, saw the defendant and the victim and called out to him.
He fled the area with his machete.
According to Justice Leiataualesa, these types of offending involving young children are unacceptable because the offence has a significant type of psychological trauma on the victims.
“This is a very serious offense especially when they are very young,” he told the defendant.
“Young children are young and the younger the child the greater the need for protection. Your action also shows the serious breach of trust towards your sister.”
In stating the aggravating features, Justice Leiataualesa took into account the breach of trust.
“The aggravating feature of this matter is the age of the victim during the time of the offense,” he said.
“Her vulnerability as she was just 10 years old when this happened, the breach of trust that she had for you as you are her biological brother, the age difference between you and the victim and the offense was premeditated.
“I do not accept your medical condition as a possible mitigating factor when sentencing you.”
According to the presentence report, the defendant comes from a loving family.
“Your father addressed the court emotionally expressing his love for his children and the impact that this has caused him and he asks for leniency,” said Justice Leiataualesa.
“Presentence report also refers to your mother who spoke highly of you.
“A report from Dr. Sanele was also presented to the probation officer stating that the defendant suffers from epilepsy.
“I accepted that you are remorseful for your actions and this is very clear to the court of your emotional state.
“According to the victim impact report, you had sort lenience from your family as well as your sister.
“The victim is your now 11-year-old sister who is a school student in Year 6.
“You were raised together and the victim impact report refers only to the victim as being embarrassed by what had occurred.
“In terms of mitigating features, I accept that you are generally remorseful, you’ve apologised to your family and sister and you have reconciled.
“I will also give you a deduction for your youth; I have also taken into account your early guilty plea to the charges.”